Paperwork or paperyuck!?! Did you know that the United States Postal Service processes an average of 584 million pieces of mail each day?! Whether it is junk mail, papers from school, magazines, newspapers, bills, coupons, etc., the average household is overflowing with paper. Paper overload is the most common complaint that we hear from our clients. Below are some tips on how to reduce the volume of paper coming into your home:
Mail - While I try to only get coupons, credit card offers, local circulars, bills, etc. on-line, I still receive a ton of junk mail. This is an on-going battle. My best recommendation for unwanted mail is to contact the company and ask for your name to be removed from their mailing list. For additional strategies getting off direct mail lists, visit the “privacy rights” website. Please note that you usually need to re-register after a certain number of years (usually two or three) to ensure your name is kept off of these lists. For mail that you want to receive, such as insurance statements, bills, investment information, etc., call the company and ask if they have a paperless option (most do). Some people would prefer to receive the paper copies. If this applies to you, just make sure to invest in a good filing system (we can help you with that) and purge documents in a timely manner.
Schoolwork - While I love my children and their awesome drawings, reports and tests, there are only so many things that I can save. First, they share everything they bring home from school. Next, they help choose "favorites" to get posted on the family bulletin board for a week or so and then get recycled (yes, even that 100% math test). I try to only keep a small sampling of their creative writing and very important projects that take significant time and effort to do. These are stored in labeled bins in the basement. Now, what about all of the correspondence from the teacher, PTA, principal? We recommend an Action File for these and other papers that require action. Honestly, the best advice we can give to stay on top of your paper is to set aside time each day to go through it all and then file or trash it.
Mementos - What do you do with all those mementos, such as artwork, certificates, greeting cards and more? Well, only you know what you REALLY need to keep, but you need to be picky. You do NOT need to keep every greeting card that is given to you. If someone just signs their name, read it, enjoy it, and then recycle it. Only keep the occasional card with a special note that you think you would want to look back on for years to come. Invest in good waterproof plastic containers and/or scrapbooks for your most treasured keepsakes.
Magazines - Only subscribe to your favorite magazines. If trying to keep up with your subscriptions seems like a chore, then you have too many. When you are finished with them you can recycle them or donate them to a doctor's office or a non-profit such as Purple Heart.
Michigan-based Productivity Trainer and Certified Professional Organizer, Donna Lindley, publishes the "Timely Tips" monthly ezine from Organized Office Solutions. If you're ready to jump-start your productivity by organizing your space, time, email and paper, I invite you to sign up to receive your FREE tips now by going to www.OrganizedOfficeSolutions.com.